Course Hero. "New Testament Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Apr. 2018. Web. 24 June 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/>.
Course Hero. (2018, April 27). New Testament Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 24, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/
(Course Hero, 2018)
Course Hero. "New Testament Study Guide." April 27, 2018. Accessed June 24, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/.
Course Hero, "New Testament Study Guide," April 27, 2018, accessed June 24, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/New-Testament/.
"Simon Peter" writes to a community to remind them of his teaching and offer his help in strengthening their faith.
If the letter is a pseudepigraphic composition, its author and readers were facing a situation when Jesus's earliest followers had begun to die, so the Christ-believers could no longer rely on firsthand, in-person apostolic teaching for guidance and leadership. Instead, the next generation of followers needed to apply the early lessons and sayings to a new historical setting.
The letter may be an example of how Christians revived and reinterpreted apostolic teaching for the post-apostolic period. This historical setting might help to explain the author's comments that he wants to be sure the community knows and accurately understands his teaching before he can no longer convey it to them in person. The end of the letter also suggests time has passed since the age of the apostles and some Christ-believers may be interpreting apostolic tradition in ways that upset the author.
Many New Testament scholars think the letter might be fruitfully compared to another genre of religious texts, Jewish testamentary literature. A "testament" was a form of text that imagined an important figure, sometimes one of the Hebrew Bible patriarchs, on his deathbed. Before passing away the patriarch would offer blessings, warnings, and advice to his descendants.
Testamentary features in 2 Peter include the focus on preserving his teaching unchanged after his death. The author also offers a warning that false teachers "who will secretly bring in destructive opinions" will threaten the community in the future (2 Peter 2:1). Other future threats include the "scoffers" who "will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts" and denying the promised the second coming of the resurrected Christ (2 Peter 3:3). By focusing on guidance for the community of believers, the author of this letter creates a portrait of an elderly Peter, looking ahead to a time when he can no longer support the community; while he still can, this imagined Peter takes an active role in shaping his legacy within the churches of Asia Minor.